PETER CONRADI and JOHN ROBBINS/Bullet News
ST. CATHARINES -Kevin Smith isn’t quite counting the days, but he knows they are numbered. The Niagara Health System provincial supervisor took one more step toward his exit from the region Tuesday when he named the new 15-member board of directors.
“My goal is probably to be gone early summer, sometime in June,” Smith said. “Then it’s the job of the board.”
The new board includes: Bernice Alexander, Richard Baker, Larry Boggio, John Bragagnolo, Marti Jurmain, Ken Kawall, John MacDonald, Barry Wright, Frank Vassallo, Cathy Sutherland, Murray Paton and Catherine Mindorff-Facca. Non-voting members include interim NHS CEO Sue Matthews, interim NHS chief of staff Dr. Joanna Hope and NHS medical staff president Dr. Andrei Arvinte.
Smith was appointed supervisor in August 2011 by the Ontario government on the recommendation of Health Minister Deb Matthews, who said wanted to restore public confidence in a health system whose image was badly tarnished by a deadly C. difficile outbreak at the NHS’s three largest hospital, as well as controversial restructuring plans.
With Smith’s appointment, the old board was set aside and he took over in its place.
Since then, Smith has worked to improve public image, rebuild a relationship with the media and community leaders and chart a new way forward for the NHS in terms of future capital plans and consolidation of services.
Last fall, Smith send his final report and recommendations to Matthews, including a proposal to build a new hospital for south Niagara to replace aging facilities in Niagara Falls, Fort Erie, Welland and Port Colborne.
The provincial government has yet to either endorse or reject that particular proposal, which has both its critics and supporters.
The board will have full authority under the Public Hospitals Act, guiding the direction of the hospital, including capital decisions, and hiring and firing senior staff.
“Picking the leadership team is one of the most important roles of the hospital board,” said Smith who continues in his regular job as chief executive officer of St. Joseph’s Health Care, in Hamilton.
The board will meet about 10 times a year, and Smith said most business will be conducted in the open, with closed-door meetings being limited to discussion that absolutely has to be done, such as human resources and some economic planning.
The first meeting of the board will take place after Smith leaves, though there will be informal orientation sessions starting later this month.
One of the first tasks of the board will be to appoint a senior staff selection committee to recommend a permanent CEO and chief of staff, with the former being in place and part of the discussion to bring the latter on board.
Following is a bio of the new member provided by the NHS.
Bernice (Bunny) Alexander is a retired human resources professional, specializing in organizational development, as well as a registered nurse, having worked many years as a clinical manager at the Welland Hospital prior to the amalgamation of the Niagara Health System in 2000. She then worked as senior consultant, organizational development with responsibility for employee and leadership development, employee recognition, performance development and student and volunteer resources. In her retirement, she has held numerous volunteer positions, and most recently served as vice-chairwoman of the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Community Care Access Centre Board of Directors. Previously, she was a member of the City of Welland Senior Citizens’ Advisory Committee, chairwoman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Palliative/Hospice Care Planning for South Niagara, in addition to volunteering with Hospice Niagara. She lives in Welland.
Richard Baker is a retired architect and former partner of Baker and Elmes Architects of St. Catharines, and recently a consultant to Quartek Group Inc. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Virginia. In his professional role, he has participated in the design of numerous projects throughout the Niagara Region and beyond. He currently serves as chairman of Niagara Ina Grafton Gage Foundation, and has recently served as juror of the Niagara Community Design Awards and as a Member of Council of the Ontario Association of Architects. Richard’s expertise is in the areas of construction and project management, and strategic planning. He lives in St. Catharines.
Larry Boggio is a practicing community pharmacist and owner of Boggio’s Pharmacy Ltd. A graduate of the University of Toronto’s Pharmacy Program, he has a 32-year history as a pharmacist and business owner, having grown his business from one to four stores in four communities across Niagara – Fonthill, Niagara Falls, Ridgeway and Port Colborne. He now employs over 100 people. His volunteer governance experience includes past president of the Ontario College of Pharmacists, elected district member of the College of Pharmacists’ Council, Board Member of Bridges Community Health Centre, and Board Member and past chairman of Port Colborne Community Living. He lives in Port Colborne.
John Bragagnolo is the general manager of Pen Centre in St. Catharines and has 25 years’ experience in the property management industry. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology (physiology and pharmacology) from the University of Western Ontario and has completed many master in Business Administration level courses. He holds a certificate in Human Resource Management from Queen’s University and a certificate in performance excellence from the Disney Institute. He is past chairman of the board of the Timmins and District Hospital, past executive member of the St. Catharines General Hospital Foundation and was chairman of the New Garden City Complex Advocacy Committee. He currently serves on the New Garden City Spectator Facility Fundraising Committee and is a member of the Niagara Labour Market Planning Committee. He lives in St. Catharines.
Marti Jurmain is an experienced educator and administrator with over 35 years in the Ontario college system. She is recently retired as the Director of Research and Innovation at Niagara College. She was founder and director of the New Product Development Division at Niagara College, which involved the development of new academic programs and the opportunity to work with several regional health service agencies. She holds a Master of Arts, English Language and Literature from the University of Western Ontario. She has served as a volunteer on numerous committees and fundraising initiatives in the Niagara Region, including chairwoman of the Niagara Region Cancer Campaign, president of the St. Catharines YMCA, and member of the United Way executive for St. Catharines and District. She lives in St. Catharines.
Ken Kawall has over 20 years’ experience in the private and public sector, specializing in the areas of customer service, operations, technology and change management. He is currently the assistant deputy minister and chief information officer, Enterprise Financial Services and Systems with the Ministry of Government Services, Ontario Public Service. He formerly worked as chief information officer with the Ministry of Transportation. He holds a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario and is a certified management accountant. He has served as pesident and chairman of the board of the Oakville Arts Council and treasurer and Director of the Trafalgar Township Historical Society. He lives in Vineland.
John MacDonald is the former chief administration officer for the City of Niagara Falls. His professional career with the City of Niagara Falls spanned over a period of 32 years. Prior to becoming CAO, he was the executive director of community services. In his retirement, John remains active as the National Director with the Anglican Network in Canada. He holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Western Ontario, and a Bachelor of Recreation and Leisure Studies from Brock University. He has been involved on various community board service and fundraising organizations. He lives in Niagara Falls.
Catherine Mindorff-Facca is a retired registered nurse and ppidemiologist from Hamilton Health Sciences. She holds a Master of Science (Epidemiology) from McMaster University and has completed advanced training in surveillance, prevention and control of nosocomial Infections, Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. In her professional career, she provided hospital and community infection control services, and completed a secondment to the Laboratory Centre for Disease Control with Health Canada, where she was acting chief. She was founding chairwoman of Niagara Connects (formerly known as the Niagara Research and Planning Council), served as a trustee for Brock University, was Chair of FACS Niagara, and served on the Steering Committee for the Clinical Services Planning Project of the HNHB LHIN. She lives in Ridgeway.
Murray Paton is a lawyer serving as counsel to Walker Sorensen LLP. , Toronto, a business law firm focused on the financial services industry and corporate governance. He has also served as general counsel of the 407 ETR Group, advising on, among other things, infrastructure, policy development, corporate governance and government relations matters. He also has governance experience through his role as a director of two federally-regulated Canadian insurance companies (Munich Reinsurance Company of Canada and Temple Insurance Company), as a member of the Independent Review Committee overseeing conflicts of interest for The Bank of Nova Scotia’s public mutual funds and as Board member and past chairman of Halton Healthcare Services. He is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors and holder of the Professional Director designation. He lives in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Cathy Sutherland is a financial executive and chartered accountant. Her professional experience lead her to Home Capital Group Inc/Home Trust Company, where she spent several years in the finance division, and later becoming the senior vice-president, finance. She is a guest lecturer at Brock University, speaking on issues related to women in business, financial services, human relations and job recruitment. In addition to achieving her CA designation with the Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants, she holds an Honors Business Administration degree from Brock University. Her community activities include volunteer participation at The Hope Centre in Welland, a committee member with the Hamilton YWCA Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, Board member with Hamilton Health Sciences Volunteer Association where she currently sits as Chair of its Board Development Committee. She is retired and lives in Welland.
Frank Vassallo is vice-president, Physician IT Adoption, OntarioMD, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Ontario Medical Association that is focused on assisting Ontario’s community-based physicians adopt information technology. In his 23-year career in health services administration in both the public and private sectors, he has served in various senior management roles spanning clinical and information technology management, performance measurement, government relations and business development. He holds a Master of Health Services Administration as well as a post-graduate fellowship in Hospital Administration. Frank has recently completed a Master of Communications Management (Public Relations). Frank has served in various volunteer capacities, including Board member and Chair of the former Niagara District Health Council. He lives in St. Catharines.
Barry Wright is associate professor, Goodman School of Business, Brock University. He holds a Ph.D. from Queen’s University (specializing in organizational behaviour), a Master’s degree from Queen’s University, and a Bachelor of Physical Education from the University of Alberta. His academic research focuses on understanding and solving leadership challenges, change and its influence on organizational members, and creating effective work environments. Prior to joining Brock, He was associate professor at the Schwartz School of Business and Information Technology at St. Frances Xavier University in Nova Scotia. He is a member of the Board of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Niagara. He lives in St. Catharines.
Non-Board Committee Members:
John Grant, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Political Science, Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto, and Instructor, Brock University.
Sean Keays, chief administrative officer, Foyer Richelieu, Welland.
Michael Lethby, executive director, Niagara Resource Service for Youth, St, Catharines.
Ashleigh Miatello-Skrubbeltrang, manager, Advancement Research, Brock University.
Domenic Ventresca (retired), former director, Seniors’ Services, Regional Municipality of Niagara.
- with files from Niagara This Week